The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is honored to announce Hello Kitty® as our 2024 Grand Parade Marshal. She is a Global icon of friendship, kindness, and inclusivity. This year coincides with her 50th anniversary. There will be opportunities to see Hello Kitty® in the Grand Parade on Sunday, April 21, 2024.

Hello Kitty® celebrates her 50th anniversary this year

Hello Kitty® was born in the suburbs of London. She lives with her parents and her twin sister Mimmy who is her best friend. Her hobbies include traveling, music, reading, baking cookies, and making new friends. Her favorite food is her Mama’s apple pie.

Hello Kitty® was introduced in Japan in 1974 and made her debut in America in 1976. Her signature red bow was a gift from her Mama. Hello Kitty® is not considered a cat in the traditional sense, she is many things: a little girl, an icon, a superstar, and ultimately, a friend.

The company name, Sanrio, is derived from the Spanish words San Rio, which literally mean “Saint River” in English. San meaning “Saint” just like in the place names San Francisco and San Diego, and Rio meaning “River”, as in the names of riverside cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande. So, the name Sanrio literally means “Saint River” or sacred river.

With this in mind, Sanrio was established with the desire to build a peaceful culture on the riverbanks, where it’s said that humans first began to make homes for themselves. The hope was to create a community of people who could live in harmony and with consideration for each other.

By providing a variety of social, communication and gift products, including greeting cards, music, videos, books, and live entertainment to foster friendship, we hope to expand the circle of friendship and goodwill to every corner of the globe like the water that flows through the world’s rivers.

Sanrio® Founder and Honorary Chairman, Shintaro Tsuji

About Sanrio®

Sanrio® is the global lifestyle brand best known for Hello Kitty® who was created in 1974, and home to many other beloved character brands such as My Melody™, Kuromi™, LittleTwinStars™, Cinnamoroll™, Pompompurin™, gudetama™, Aggretsuko™, Chococat™, Badtz-maru™ and Keroppi™. Sanrio was founded on the philosophy that a small gift can bring happiness and friendship to people of all ages. Since 1960, this philosophy has served as the inspiration to offer quality products, services and activities that promote communication and inspire unique consumer experiences across the world. Today, Sanrio’s business extends into the entertainment industry with several content series, gaming offerings and theme parks. Sanrio boasts an extensive product lineup which is available in over 130 countries. Sanrio hopes to bring smiles to everyone’s faces with their vision of “One World, Connecting Smiles.” To learn more about Sanrio, please visit and follow @sanrio and @hellokitty on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and subscribe to the Hello Kitty and Friends YouTube Channel.